After all the depressing and frustrating news surrounding the NFL labor issues, the breakdown in negotiations, the union de-certification and subsequent owners lockout, let's spend today and tonight forgetting the pain and watching Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski bringing the pain instead.
Zbikowski enters the boxing ring tonight without the security of shoulder pads, a helmet nor seeing LB Ray Lewis in front of him. There will only be a pair of leather gloves protecting him between his opponent and his own skull. While Zbi has only one professional fight under his belt and that was five years ago, he does have the experience of 90 amateur matches in Golden Gloves competition, where he went 75-15 in them.
In Tom's rookie season I got a few moments with him during the Ravens Training Camp and asked him which was tougher, football or boxing? He said, he loves football but nothing hurts more than getting punched in the face.
(Click on the 'Jump' to read more and see a video interview with Zbikowski on 'Top Rank Boxing')
Zbikowski's only pro fight lasted under a minute, but he said in a recent interview on the fight promoter's site, Top Rank Boxing, that he wanted this one to last a bit longer so he can showcase his skills as a boxer, not just as a puncher. His opponent tonight, Richard Bryant (age 35), has a pro record of 1-2, with one knockout. He was also knocked out in one of his losses and has eight rounds of boxing under his belt. This is a heavyweight fight, as both fighter will weigh in at over 200 pounds for tonight's fight.
'Tommy Z' as he is known in the ring as, is looking for a new nickname, but say in the Top Rank video that it must be bestowed upon him by somebody else as a result of his style. He is fighting on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga main attraction at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Also originally scheduled to fight was woman's champion Christy Martin, but she has since been forced to pull out due to injury. The fight card begins at 9pm (ET) on Showtime PPV and it is my understanding that Zbi's fight is the first one scheduled on the undercard.
So if you want to purchase the fght or see it at a local drinking establishment, get there early or you might just miss it. It is expected that a good number of his teammates on the Baltimore Ravens will be there in attendance cheering him on. Check out his first pro fight video here.
Good luck, Zbi, and keep your hands up!